Well-Being with Whitney: Brazil, the Olympics, and Trying to Solve Overwhelming Problems

Sometimes problems grow so large that they overwhelm us. That’s when we especially need resilience to stay hopeful and keep trying to find solutions. Watching the people of Brazil host the summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this year shows how hope and progress can still emerge from a mess of overwhelming problems.

The list of problems the Brazilian people are facing right now is a long one.

An outbreak of the dreaded Zika virus in Brazil stopped some Olympians and spectators from coming to the games, and Brazil’s residents continue to fight the illness. It’s transmitted through a means that’s hard to avoid: contact with mosquitoes, which are prevalent outdoors.

Then there’s the severe water pollution in Brazil. Brazilians are placing their health at risk whenever they use their polluted water for basic needs like drinking, cooking, and bathing. The site of Olympic sailing and windsurfing events, Guanabara Bay, is so polluted with sewage and garbage that scientists warn anyone coming into contact with the water risks contracting infections or diseases like hepatitis.

Brazil’s economy is on the brink of collapse, as well, with widespread poverty as Brazilians endure the worst recession there since the 1930s. The financial crisis has led to increased crime like robberies and gang violence, creating security concerns.

On top of all that, Brazil’s government is facing the problem of how to deal with corruption issues. Brazil’s president, Dilma Rousseff, is going through an impeachment process after being accused of breaking financial rules. The interim president during Rousseff’s suspension, Michel Temer, is trying to lead a government in turmoil, where people don’t agree over how to deal with the nation’s many challenges.

Yet despite all the overwhelming problems Brazilians face, they still welcomed people from all over the world to the Olympics in Rio this summer, and they’re still living with faith and hope as they work on solving their country’s problems. Many Brazilians are meeting their challenges with resilience — just like Olympians do.

We, too, can face any problem we encounter with resilience. Rather than complaining or worrying, we can focus our time and energy on trying to solve the problem, and remain hopeful through the process. As American inventor Henry Ford once said: “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re probably right.”

Sometimes problems are beyond our ability to solve ourselves, but even in those cases we have a choice to be resilient — to persevere and adapt in adversity — or not. What overwhelming problem are you facing right now? How could you let the stories of this summer’s Olympic-size challenges in Brazil inspire you to tackle that problem with resilience?

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One Response to “Well-Being with Whitney: Brazil, the Olympics, and Trying to Solve Overwhelming Problems”

  1. Zoe Johnson says:

    Excellent points! We all can learn how to tap into inner strength that’s greater than even the biggest problems we face.

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